Clearwater, Florida -- Police officers packed a Pinellas County courtroom Monday as the young man who killed their colleague, Officer David Crawford, pushed to have his life sentence reduced.
It's a rare situation. Nicholas Lindsey was convicted of first degree murder, and now he's been given a new hearing to determine his sentence.
Lindsey had just turned 16 when he shot Officer Crawford two years ago. His sentence: mandatory life in prison.
But a new ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court means a judge cannot simply hand someone under 18 an automatic mandatory life sentence. Options other than life in prison with no parole have to be considered.
In Monday's hearing, the defense tried to make the case for something less.
So many St. Petersburg police officers came to support fallen comrade David Crawford that nearly 20 were forced into an overflow room at the courthouse.
The lawyers for his killer, Nicholas Lindsey, tried to make the case for something other than a life sentence.
They aimed to show Lindsey as shaped by one of St. Pete's roughest neighborhoods, witness to a murder as a child, and mentally slow and shaken.
But they argued through family, friends, and a psychologist that Lindsey will still able to rejoin society one day.
Prosecutors didn't flinch.
They zeroed in on a picture of a non-stop delinquent who has been breaking into cars since childhood, smoking pot up to six times day, plus using alcohol and cocaine.
Lindsey's conviction as an adult for killing Officer Crawford will stand, no matter what.
State Attorney Bernie McCabe argued that once the Judge Thane Covert has considered alternatives -- like the Supreme Court says he must -- he should go ahead and re-sentence Lindsey to life in prison.
McCabe was willing to open the door to possible parole in 25 years.
After a lunch break, friends and family of Officer Crawford are expected to be called to the stand by the prosecution to explain through their pain why they believe Lindsey should never be allowed to go free.
You'll hear from them as our coverage continues on 10 News at 5.
Grayson Kamm, 10 News